Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dick Cheney Admits to Torture Conspiracy


On Sunday, Cheney pronounced himself "a big supporter of waterboarding," a near-drowning technique that has been regarded as torture back to the Spanish Inquisition and that has long been treated by U.S. authorities as a serious war crime, such as when Japanese commanders were prosecuted for using it on American prisoners during World War II.

Cheney was unrepentant about his support for the technique. He answered with an emphatic "yes" when asked if he had opposed the Bush administration’s decision to suspend the use of waterboarding – after it was employed against three "high-value detainees" sometimes in repetitive sequences. He added that waterboarding should still be "on the table" today.

Cheney then went further. Speaking with a sense of impunity, he casually negated a key line of defense that senior Bush officials had hidden behind for years – that the brutal interrogations were approved by independent Justice Department legal experts who thus gave the administration a legitimate reason to believe the actions were within the law.

However, on Sunday, Cheney acknowledged that the White House had told the Justice Department lawyers what legal opinions to render. In other words, the opinions amounted to ordered-up lawyering to permit the administration to do whatever it wanted.



Yeah, "sigh." That's all I've got at this point. Neither the Obama administration nor the Democratic controlled Congress appear to give a shit that the previous administration tortured prisoners of war. I'm really starting to suspect that everybody in the American political power structure believes that the United States, being the greatest nation in the history of the Universe and all that, can do whatever the fuck it wants, and that morality is simply not a consideration when it comes to policy-making.

Okay, I don't suspect that; rather, I've long known it to be true, but just haven't wanted to admit it to myself. I've hoped that when it really came down to it that our leaders are moral people, in the end. But that's so obviously not the case that I can no longer allow myself the luxury of hope. Our leaders are depraved, immoral, evil people.

I'll go through this one more time. Torture is deeply immoral, perhaps even worse than murder. Torture is tantamount to rape. Torturing someone, anyone, is one of the worst things one human being can do to another. Virtually nothing justifies it--I'm open to considering the classic "ticking time bomb" scenario, but the burden of proof lies with whoever makes the assertion, and it's necessary to point out that torturing men who have been held for months, like at the American gulag known as Guantanamo Bay, or in the chamber of horrors otherwise known as Abu Ghraib, can in no way be considered part of this hypothetical situation. It doesn't matter if torture produces "results," whatever that means. It doesn't matter if the people being tortured are evil, and have themselves tortured others. Torture is wrong, and civilized people must always condemn it. Always.

Further, those who rhetorically support torture are necessarily immoral themselves. This includes members of my own family, as well as friends I have loved for many years. If morality means anything at all, I must condemn all who support torture.

Leaders who order subordinates to torture are as guilty and immoral as those who torture. Perhaps even more guilty. And now we know that former Vice President Cheney falls into that category. He's admitted as much on national television. Hell, he's boasted of it. No need to investigate anymore. We should put him on trial immediately. And what's so infuriating is that it's not going to happen.

How can any moral person support President Obama, who sits in his regal pose doing nothing? How can Americans of conscience continue to support the Democrats, who pontificate about their own importance, while doing nothing? How can this be the America I've loved all my life? Doesn't anybody give a fuck about this?